Alan & Caroline’s story: “They are genuinely caring”
Caroline and Alan Jarvie emigrated from Cornwall to New Zealand when their eldest son was a baby. They settled in Beachlands where they raised their family over the next couple of decades.
After their children left home and they had retired, they were asked by a friend to house sit, which they enjoyed so much they ended up doing it for the next nine years. “It grew like topsy,” says Caroline. “We’d get calls from people and one would lead to the other.”
“We had some fun and interesting times,” says Alan. “We’ve lived in places with racehorses and all sorts. One place was a cattery and home to 14 cats’.”
Unfortunately, Alan’s health took a turn for the worse and they decided it was time to have a permanent base that they could call home. “Stevenson Village ticked all the boxes,” Caroline explains. “When you are older, you need to live in a community that is supportive. We’ve got that and so much more.”
Alan, who is now 81 years old, believes that holding on fiercely to being ‘independent’ can make life difficult for older people. “Houses, cars, etc, become important symbols of independence for the elderly and people find them hard to let go. You can become isolated and lonely, and you miss out on the things that really matter, such as supporting your health and wellbeing and living in a caring and supportive community.”
He says they have come to appreciate that getting older requires change. “We’ve got the bus stop at the top of the drive, we can walk to the shops on the corner and we live at the most central village in Howick.”
Both Caroline and Alan feel very grateful that they are fortunate enough to live at Stevenson Village. “HBH Group, which owns Stevenson Village, is a faith-based organisation and that is obvious in everything they do,” says Alan. “They are genuinely caring and I think that’s because they are not chasing profits like the others.”
Caroline agrees and advises others looking to move into supported living to “choose carefully and look at how happy the staff are, rather than the swimming pool or how flash the facilities are. I always think the staff are the heart of a place, so if they’re happy, that’s a great sign!”
Caroline and Alan have a lovely garden, a tidy, recently refurbished unit and all the local amenities they need close by. Life is good at Stevenson Village.